By Data-Smart City Solutions • November 27, 2018

This is the first in a series of features to highlight key lessons from A New City O/S by Stephen Goldsmith and Neil Kleiman. 


Key Insights

  • City administrative systems are motivated by an ethos of compliance, not by finding the right employees and providing them the tools needed to improve programs and services.
  • New technologies and access to broad datasets can transform rule-bound workers into real problem-solvers. With the right distributive data platform, agencies can collaborate to build faster, more responsive services.
  • The very top elected/appointed official must articulate a commitment to O/S principles and assign a chief with cross-agency authority to operationalize the transition. The new O/S must be supported by clear vision, engagement, and operations strategy. 
  • Central responsibility must be established via the Data Analytics Team and Project Management Office to encourage, organize, and support the development of a new O/S throughout the enterprise.

Quick Tips

  • Embrace labor. Management and labor will collaborate when both see the benefits of O/S reforms that help provide greater savings and efficiencies.
  • Ask the right questions. With distributed data coming from many sources, government officials and frontline workers need to focus on clarifying what they want to know.
  • Attract good candidates. Reforming hiring practices will be necessary to bring talent to government, and new training academies can provide skills to help move the existing workforce toward autonomy.

Potential Problems

  • Although key executive leaders will provide clear directives and rules for participants, a new O/S is not a centralized system. An open, distributed system should not be mistaken as a top-down system.
  • Discretion for frontline workers must be balanced with more outcome-based supervision at the senior level, utilizing much more data to discern which employees are excelling or should be better trained or redeployed.

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